Saturday, October 21, 2017

ARISE Responds to Adirondack Council’s Misleading Editorial

April 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 


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ARISE today issued a response to an editorial by John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council titled “Prosperity up North – Adirondack Park emerges as a New York success story” published recently in The Albany Times Union.   You can read the editorial by clicking here.

Here is the ARISE response:

The Truth About the Adirondack Economy

In a recent Albany Times editorial titled “Prosperity up North”, Mr. John Sheehan painted a picture of the Adirondack economy that was far from accurate. His reference of the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project (APRAP) was not only filled with partial information, but also very misleading.

Taken directly from the report published by the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project:

  • The median age of the Adirondack Park is older than any other state.
  • In the Park, K-12 students represent 13.5% of the population, as compared to 18 percent nationally.
  • School enrollments in the Park have decreased by 329 students annually throughout the current decade, which is equivalent to the loss of one average size Adirondack school district EVERY 19 MONTHS.
  • From 1970 to 2007, the student population has dropped by 31 percent.
  • Comparatively low levels of household income.
  • Seasonally high unemployment and comparatively high average annual unemployment.
  • The Office of Real Property Services lists 76 percent of the Adirondacks as “Wild, Forested, Conservation Lands, and Public Parks”.
  • In 2000, 48.7 percent of the work force in the Town of Tupper Lake, and 52 percent within the Village of Tupper Lake, were categorized as government workers.
  • As a percentage of total revenue, revenue from real property taxes for local governments wholly and partially within the Park has decreased by over 3 percent from 1980 to 2006.
  • For local governments wholly within the Park, municipal expenses on a per capita basis are more than double the per capita expenses of those local governments partially within the Park and those outside the Park.

In short, our children cannot stay in the Park as there are not enough employment opportunities. We have an over reliance on public sector jobs, which in the current economic environment are in serious jeopardy (ie. Huge cuts to our school districts, funding cuts to ORDA, correctional facilities closing, etc.). This is an alarming trend. Publicly funded jobs are no longer a safe bet. As a result, Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy (ARISE) was formed 18 months ago, and they have been working closely with regulatory agencies, local government officials, local business owners, and Adirondack citizens, to clearly show the dire state of the Adirondack economy. The goal of ARISE is to help stabilize and improve the overall economy in our area, by continuing to work with the groups that have a role in the decision making process. The future of the Adirondack Park is at a dangerous tipping point. If the trend of the past 10 years continues, not only would the human ecosystem be further damaged, but the natural ecosystem would also be further compromised. In fact, many feel it is already too late.

ARISE has never blamed the Adirondack Park Agency for wrecking the State economy. In fact, ARISE blames the preservationist groups and individuals like Mr. Sheehan, for their continued efforts in interfering with the mission of the Adirondack Park Agency. ARISE feels that the APA has a job to do, and that they have a capable, and highly trained staff. When given the opportunity to carry through with their mission statement, they do it well. Yet, there are those outside groups and individuals who feel they are smarter and more capable in directing the APA Act. They will use tactics that not only interfere with the regulatory process, but they put the overall health of the Park in jeopardy. It is time for these groups to stop their deliberate and interfering tactics, and allow the Adirondack Park Agency to do their job.

Over the past 30 years, the preservation groups have skillfully pushed the Adirondack Park Agency to look-away from their original mission statement. It has now come at a great cost to all New York State taxpayers. 50+% of the lands in the Park are now under public ownership, and requires significant State taxpayer money to manage. Also, there is an over-reliance on State funded jobs within the Park, as private enterprise is finding it more difficult to survive.

Some who live outside the Park may feel that having the Adirondacks void of all human beings would be a good thing. First, it is not likely to ever happen. Second, when you come to the Park, we hope you would enjoy having the opportunity to shop, eat, and sleep here. Most who already visit, wonder why businesses no longer exist. Third, it would have grave consequences on the natural environment. And finally, we accept the challenges of our area, but become defensive when others tells us how we should feel, by using information in a misleading manner to convince others that they should donate to their self-serving cause.

ARISE feels that the human and natural ecosystem can co-exist. It’s time to refocus on the true intent of the Adirondack Park Act, before it’s too late.

Jim LaValley
Chairman of ARISE of Northern New York; former member of the Task Force on the Adirondack Park Agency; former member of the Northern Forest Lands Council; former member of the Adirondack Planning Commission

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